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Looking back at great film fathers

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Atticus Finch (To Kill a Mockingbird) A widower lawyer in a small southern town, Atticus taught his children Scout and Jem that all people should be treated equally and to always stand up for their beliefs. Even cooler, he let his kids call him by his first name.

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Vito Corleone (The Godfather) The Corleone pater familias ran his New York crime empire with an iron hand, but he always made time for his four children, even the cowardly and weak-willed Fredo. To quote Don Vito: “A man that doesn’t spend time with his family can never be a real man.”

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Darth Vader (Star Wars) Okay, so Luke Skywalker’s father made some mistakes. He killed the mother of his children, kept his daughter captive and chopped off the hand of his own son. But Darth (real name: Anakin Skywalker) deserves mention for eventually realizing the error of his ways and turning away from the dark side.

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Daniel Hillard (Mrs. Doubtfire) Talk about your inventive fathers: In order to spend more time with his three kids, divorced dad Daniel sports dowager drag and layers of makeup to transform himself into the British nanny Mrs. Euphegenia Doubtfire. The kids fall for the ruse and come to love the old gal but are more than a little confused when the corset comes off.


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Clark Griswold (National Lampoon’s Vacation) Has there ever been a more selfless movie dad than Clark Griswold? In each of the four Nat Lamp film entries--Vacation, European Vacation, Christmas Vacation and Vegas Vacation—the big dumb cluck goes all out to make his kids happy. Any man who pulls a gun (okay, a pellet gun) on a security guard so that his kids can ride a rollercoaster has got to be a great father.

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George Banks (Father of the Bride) Alternately played by Spencer Tracy and Steve Martin, everyman George Banks bends over backwards to facilitate the nuptials of his only daughter and somehow remains stoic throughout the process, even though it’s costing him a fortune.

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George Bailey (It’s a Wonderful Life) Affable George puts his own life on hold and self-sacrifices his dreams over and over again for his family, friends and smalltown neighbours. Only when he discovers what the world would be like had he never been born does George realize how much he desperately loves his own wife and children. Better late than never, right?

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